Brain injury can cause lasting changes to how the brain processes sight.

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  • Reading time:5 mins read
  • Communications Biology volume 4, Article number: 1297 (2021)
  • Original Source
  • Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

Traumatic brain injury to primary visual cortex produces long-lasting circuit dysfunction

Study Summary

The brain can adjust how it processes what we see to fit different situations, but it’s unclear how brain injuries impact this capability.

To better understand how head injuries impact vision, scientists examined mice with minor damage to their visual processing region and discovered that although the area was mostly intact, there was a reduction in the cells that influence other cells that regulate inhibitory responses. The cells handling visual information were not as active and had difficulty reacting to visual triggers after the injury.

What this has to do with ECT

After having electroconvulsive therapy ECT, many people experience vision problems. I was recently diagnosed with several visual processing issues from ECT, so I’ve been researching this topic to better understand my condition.

The following study found that even minor brain injuries can lead to lasting difficulties in how the brain handles visual information.

While ECT is not used directly on the parts of the brain responsible for vision, this research suggests damage to any part of the brain can change how the brain processes vision.

It’s important to think about how far electricity travels during ECT to appreciate the full impact. Below is a picture from a different ECT study that compares the safety levels for exposure to electric and magnetic fields during pregnancy. The effects are not isolated to location of the electrodes. Below, this image shows how electric field from ECT spreads through the enitre head, neck, and down the body.

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) during pregnancy: quantifying and assessing the electric field strength inside the foetal brain


Anna is a childhood psychiatric drug and a teenage electroshock survivor. She founded Life After ECT to ensure people injured by electroconvulsive therapy have easy access to resources that can help them understand their injuries and find a path to recovery.